The Board of Directors has two fundamental tasks as the governing authority of the nonprofit organization. It is to ensure the mission and oversee organizational performance. Much has been written in the nonprofit literature about how these tasks are two be carried out. I offer two simple means that are used at ChildServe, the organization that I have served for the past 17 years.
The first means focuses at the mission of the organization. The board must ask and answer the question — How do we know when the mission is achieved? The mission statement itself helps answer this question. As an example, the mission of ChildServe is “We will partner with families to help children with special health care needs live a great life”. The mission statement contains three key phrases that provide an outcome framework that helps answer the achievement question.
- The first phrase is ”We partner with families”. The first outcome that the board looks for is whether or not we are partnering effectively with families.
- The second phrase is “helping children with special health care needs” . The second outcome focuses on how effectively we help children.
- The third phrase is “live a great life”. The third outcome focuses on the child and if he/she is living a great life.
By deconstructing the mission statement into phrases such as we did with the ChildServe mission statement, the board can develop an mission outcome framework. This framework may include one or more outcome measures depending on the mission statement. In this way the board will have a specific means to determine if the mission is achieved.
Take a look at the mission of your nonprofit organization to see if it is possible to deconstruct it in a way that makes the mission outcomes obvious. If your mission cannot betaken apart in this way, perhaps it is time for your board to revisit your mission statement. If you haven’t reviewed your mission for awhile, it might be necessary for you and your board rewrite and/or construct a new mission statement. By identifying the mission outcomes, the governance and the organization will have a new means to determine if the mission is achieved in your community.
The second task of the board is to provide oversight of the organization. I will offer in a future post an “organization performance framework” that can be use by governance to oversee the organization and determine its on-going effectiveness and sustainability.
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